Lake Tahoe Resorts Opening Dates, Snow Report, Live Cams

tahoe resorts opening dates

2019/20 Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts Opening Dates, Snow Report, Live Resort Webcams

*Conditions permitting, check directly with the resort for most accurate projected opening dates.

Bookmark this page; regularly updated. Last update: October 14, 2019

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photo credit: Nevada DOT

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photo credit: Squaw Valley resort first snowfall 9/16/2019

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photo credit: Squaw Valley resort photo of ski lifts 9/16/2019

Doing the snow dance? Can’t wait to ski, ride? Guess which Tahoe area resort will open first?

Boreal opens October 25, 2019. Check their website for night skiing hours. Trail Map | Cam

Heavenly Mountain Resort opens November 22, 2019 Trail Map | Live Cams

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Sierra at Tahoe will opened mid-November 2019 Trail Map | Cam

Kirkwood will opened mid-November 2019 Trail Map | Cam

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Squaw Valley USA opens November 15, 2019 Trail Map | Cam

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Alpine Meadows opens November 15, 2019 Trail Map | Cam

Northstar-at-Tahoe opens November 22, 2019 Trail Map | Cam

Sugar Bowl opens November 29, 2019 Trail Map | Cam

Homewood will opened mid-November 2019  Trail Map | Cam

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Diamond Peak will opened December 12, 2019 Trail Map | Cam

Mt. Rose opens October 25, 2019 Trail Map | Cam

Tahoe Donner  will opened mid-November 2019 Trail Map

Donner Ski Ranch will opened mid-November 2019 Trail Map

Bear Valley will opened mid-November 2019 Trail Map | Cam

China Peak  will opened mid-November 2019 Trail Map

Dodge Ridge will opened mid-November 2019 Trail Map | Cam

Soda Springs will opened mid-November 2019 Trail Map

Yosemite’s Badger Pass® Ski Area will opened early December 2019 Trail Map

Mt. Shasta Ski Park Resort will opened mid-November 2019 Trail Map | Cam | Extended night skiing/riding hours 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM.

New to SnowPals? Join us to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies.

* Plan a Tahoe getaway: browse/book a Tahoe vacation rental or those with a season pass, join a ski lease to set a new personal record for most ski and ride days.

* Rideshare to your favorite Tahoe resort and expand your circle of friends for POWDER trips to Utah, Colorado, Whistler, Europe, Japan, South America and other worldwide snow destinations.

Quick Navigation Links:

* Caltrans Road Conditions | Road Traffic Live Cams | Chain Control Advisory

* Discount Ski Bus Trips: one day, overnight, 7+ day trips

* Join Tahoe ride-shares / carpool

* Get the Best Value Multi-resort Season Pass good for two days each at 16 Worldwide Resorts including Squaw Alpine, Mammoth Colorado and Utah resorts among others.

* North Lake Tahoe Public Transportation Information

PUBLIC SHUTTLES

TART (Tahoe Area Regional Transit)

Call 530-550-1212. Regular schedules run 7 days / week from 6:30 AM until 6:30 PM. TART service runs along 30 miles of the North Lake Tahoe shoreline including a shuttle between Tahoe City and Truckee via Hwy. 89. Buses equipped with bike racks in summer and ski racks in winter.

Truckee Transit

Call 530-587-751 for information. Buses run from 9 AM to 5 PM, no service between 1:15 to 2:15, Monday through Saturday. Service from Truckee Airport / Downtown Commercial Row / Donner Lake.

Ski Resort Shuttles and Schedules

– Free Ski Shuttle. Call 800-736-6365 for information. Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Homewood resorts: TART service offers weekend and holiday week schedule.

Night Rider Free Night Service

Call 530-546-2912 for information. Free service stopping at all TART public bus stops at night through the summer and winter with variable schedules.

TIMING YOUR BUS

NextBus.com

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION

– Public bus service from and to South Lake Tahoe Airport
Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) has a bus stop located at the airport. The bus stop is on route 18X N.B. and E.B.

– BlueGO
BlueGO is a service of the South Tahoe Transit Authority, operated by the Tahoe Transportation District (TTD). BlueGO provides fixed route, demand response, sky shuttles, seasonal trolley service, and commuter express routes on the south shore of Lake Tahoe and to the Carson Valley.

– BlueGO operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day. For more information, please visit the Tahoe Transportation District website: https://www.tahoetransportation.org/transit/south-shore-services.

– Shuttle Service to & from Reno/Tahoe international Airport
South Tahoe Airporter
(530) 544-5289
http://southtahoeairporter.com

South Tahoe Express
This luxury bus shuttle service offers nonstop service between the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and South Shore casinos and hotel properties. There are 8 daily departures each way from Reno between 5:45 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. and from South Shore beginning at 3:30 a.m. and ending at 11:15 p.m. Purchase tickets through your travel agent, the Welcome Center at the Reno Airport and South Shore Casinos. $27.50 per person, each way. $49.00 round trip. Children 4-12 travel for $15.50 each way or $28.00 round trip with paid adult. CALL 866-898-2463

Amador Stage Lines
Busses for Airport Transfers, Casino Trips, Convention Event Shuttles, Golf Outings, Government contracting, Parties, Party Bus, Ski shuttles, Sporting events, Weddings, Reno ~ Lake Tahoe Bus Trips. 635 Ferrari-Mcleod Blvd. Reno, NV 89512 | 775-324-4444

Heavenly Ski Resort
During the ski season, this resort offers FREE fixed route shuttle service to most South Shore lodging properties. The shuttle runs between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily. Call for designated stops. 530-541-7548

Sierra At Tahoe Ski Resort
During the ski season, this resort offers FREE fixed route shuttle service to most South Shore lodging properties. The shuttle runs between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily. Call for designated stops. 530-541-7548

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 3.24.35 PM – source: onthesnow.com

Would you like to sleep and let a professional driver drive you to your favorite Tahoe resort? Book a discount SF Bay Area to Tahoe ski bus trip: one day and overnight bus trips. Enjoy a full day of skiing or riding; sleep on the way to Tahoe and watch movies on the return while enjoying complimentary snacks and drinks.

* Browse Season Pass and Lift Ticket Deals

season-pass-lift-ticket-deals

* Extreme cool POWDER Van Adventure shoutout to Chris Benchetler’s fluid style as a skier (athlete and an artist) and his journey to ski fresh powder as he travels around the West Coast USA visiting various powder destinations.

GoPro: Chasing POWder AdVANture with Chris Benchetler in 4K


* What’s it like to ski/ride Japan’s famous dry champagne powder?



This season pass gives you two days of skiing / riding in Japan among 18 other resorts across Alberta, Australia, British Columbia, Chamonix (France) and Valle Nevado (Chile), California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, New Zealand, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming. For 2018/19 season, this pass enables you to go where there’s POWder galore!

Caltrans Road Conditions, Road Traffic Live Cams, Highway Patrol Traffic Incidents Report, Chain Control Advisory, Tahoe Seven Day Weather Forecast

* Check to see when the next snow storm is in the forecast. Browse traffic and road webcams. Check Caltrans live feed.

* WINTER DRIVING TIPS

http://www.dot.ca.gov/cttravel/winter.html

* CHAIN CONTROLS

http://www.dot.ca.gov/cttravel/chain-controls.html

* Roads, Traffic – Check Current Highway Conditions

http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi

* LIVE TRAFFIC CAMS

http://www.dot.ca.gov/video/

* CHP Traffic Incident Information

http://cad.chp.ca.gov/

* TAHOE ROAD LIVE CAMS

http://newtoreno.com/ca-i80-webcams-donner-summit.htm

* NORTH TAHOE LIVE CAMS

https://tahoetopia.com/webcams

* SOUTH TAHOE LIVE CAMS

https://tahoesouth.com/lake-tahoe-web-cams/

* Tip: before you drive to Tahoe, check Current California Highway Road Conditions & Traffic; Enter Highway Number(s)

Check weather forecast:

On the Beyond Tahoe Snow Destination ‘Bucket List’: where can you ski and ride at midnight, soak in a hot mineral water pool, then follow that up with soju shots and BBQ eats? Dragon Valley, South Korea – site of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Cross Country Tahoe Ski Areas Opening Dates (Lake Tahoe Nordic skiing and snowshoeing areas)

Granlibakken Resort  DEC Trail Map | Cam

Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort  DEC Trail Map

Spooner Lake Cross Country Ski Area  DEC Trail Map

Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area  DEC Trail Map

=== Southern California/Sierra ===

Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort  opens Nov 9, 2019 Trail Map | Cam

mammoth-mtn-resort

*All opening dates posted above are based on snowfall and could change. Check with the resort before you go for the most updated information.

Map of Lake Tahoe Area Ski Resorts

map source: unofficialnetworks.com

For a detailed listing of Tahoe ski resorts, check out our handy guide to all the Lake Tahoe area ski resorts! It’s the fastest way to scan lift ticket prices and compare the resorts to find the perfect one for you.

Looking to join a Tahoe ski lease? Browse our listing, or list yours.

Looking to buy gear, skis, snowboard or snow sports clothing? REI is having their REI’s Winter Sale.

Save up to big on Cold Weather Clothing and Footwear. Plus Save 50% off or more at REI Garage! Shop early for the best selection. Free U.S. Standard Shipping on all Skis and Snowboards. Earn a $100 REI Gift Card when you apply for an REI Mastercard. Browse clearance sale items.

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*If you spot any error on this page or would like to make a suggestion, please email .  Advance thanks!

 

What’s the best value season pass deal for 2019/20? Get the most mountain for your money

mountain collective ski season pass deal

Updated on August 8,2019

What’s the best value ski season pass deal for 2019/20?

IKON Pass ($749/$1049), Epic Pass ($699/$939), or Mountain Collective Pass at $489?

Here’s why the MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE PASS 2019/20 is the best value season pass:

Ski, Ride & Explore 18 Mountains Around The World. 2 Days At Each Resort. No Blackout Dates, 2 Days at the Collective Ski Resort Destinations for Passholders.

For the 2019-2010 season included is a BONUS THIRD DAY AT THE DESTINATION OF YOUR CHOICE. Perfect Ski Getaway. Adults and Kids’ Passes. That’s a total of 35 lift tickets included with the pass.

Unlimited 50% off single day lift tickets after the 2 days of lift tickets per resort, plus exclusive lodging deals at each destination. Includes big name resorts like Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, Aspen Snowmass in Colorado, Taos in New Mexico, Niseko United (Japan) & more (see full list below)

The pass includes two days of lift tickets at each of the following resorts:

+ Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (Northern California)
+ Mammoth Mountain (Central Sierra, California)

+ Alta (Utah)
+ Snowbird (Utah)

+ Aspen Snowmass (Colorado)

+ Taos Ski Valley (New Mexico)
+ Jackson Hole (Wyoming)
+ Big Sky Resort (Montana)
+ Sugarbush Resort (Vermont)

+ Revelstoke Mountain Resort (British Columbia, Canada) – sets record for highest vertical at 5,620 feet & longest ski season in Canada and is only 35 miles away from Banff Sunshine

+ Banff Sunshine (Alberta, Canada)
+ Lake Louise (Alberta, Canada)

+ Niseko United (Japan) – watch the epic powder riding video below; Japan skiing is on many skiers’ bucket list

+ Coronet Peak | The Remarkables (New Zealand)
+ Thredbo Alpine Village (Australia)

+ Mt Buller (Australia) – added for 2019/20
+ Valle Nevado (Chile) – added for 2019/20

Read more/buy the Mountain Collective Pass for $449 Adults. Kids 12 and under only $99.

How is THE MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE SKI SEASON PASS a best value deal?

1) Ski or ride three days and the pass will have more than paid for itself; keep in mind a single adult regular lift ticket goes for $169 at Squaw Alpine and similar resorts cost just as much. Once you have redeemed three days of lift tickets, you still have 32 more days of skiing at other resorts. The more days you ski and ride, the more value you get from the pass. So the key question is from your past experience, how many ski days do you actually take? If you have a busy work schedule, this pass offers the best value for the price aka the best bang for your buck.

2) THE MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE SKI SEASON PASS gives you the opportunity to ski and discover big name resorts like Alta, Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Snowbird, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, Niseko United (Japan), Banff Sunshine, and Taos Ski Valley resort. The pass gives you an excuse to explore new resorts. Take to 2-3 days at one resort, then take a road-trip to another as opposed to staying in one place for a week or longer. This pass is your ticket to adventure.

3) If Tahoe area resorts suffer from lack of snow as a result, you can chase powder dumps at your choice of 16 other resorts included in the pass, namely Alta (Utah), Aspen Snowmass (Colorado), Big Sky Resort (Montana), Banff Sunshine (Alberta), Coronet Peak | The Remarkables (New Zealand), Jackson Hole (Wyoming), Lake Louise (Alberta), Mammoth Mountain (California), Niseko United (Japan), Revelstoke Mountain Resort (British Columbia), Snowbird (Utah), Sugarbush Resort (Vermont), Taos Ski Valley (New Mexico), and Thredbo (Australia). THE MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE SKI SEASON PASS lets you go where the powder is. In case Lake Tahoe area resorts suffered from insufficient snow, you have a list of other resorts you can go to.

With the Mountain Collective, it’s possible for passionate skiers and riders to discover thousands of vertical feet and chase ideal winter snow conditions across Alberta, Australia, British Columbia, Japan, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, New Zealand, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming.

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR PASSHOLDERS

+ 2 days at Chamonix in France*

Chamonix — France

* Benefits at Chamonix apply to their 2019/20 season. Mountain Collective global affiliate benefits are valid only at the current Mountain Collective Global Affiliates. Global Affiliates are subject to change each ski season.

+ Complimentary 1-year Protect Our Winters (POW) membership

Get more details about the Mountain Collective Pass details/purchase.

“The Mountain Collective Pass encourages skiers to plan adventures and explore new areas, to chase snow and to cross off bucket list destinations.”

Got ski & ride road trip?

How about an eight day road trip to ski resorts covered by the Mountain Collective Pass:

1st stop: Mammoth Mountain Resort, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

2nd stop: Squaw Valley Resort, 1960 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Valley, CA 96146

3rd stop: Alta Ski Area, 10010 Little Cottonwood Canyon Rd, Alta, UT 84092

4th stop: Snowbird Resort, 9385 S, Snowbird Center Dr, Sandy, UT 84092

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Connect with ski and ride buddies to plan a POWder ski trip, share expenses and make this winter season one of your best.

Watch the YouTube video below to see why Japan is on many skier’s POWder galore bucket list.

Every year consistently Epic POWder: Niseko, Japan

Included in the pass is one of the top ski destination: Niseko United (Japan), where you’ll discover simply some of the driest, lightest powder aka champagne powder in the world. Consistently recording winter seasonal snowfall of 45.9 feet of snow or more, it’s a favorite powder skiing and riding destination.

The ski resort Niseko United – Annapuri/Grand Hirafu/Hanazono/Niseko Village is located on Hokkaido (Japan). For skiing and snowboarding, there are 44.5 km of slopes available. 32 lifts transport skiers and riders to the summit (check out the resort’s trail map). The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 300 and 1,200 m.

Seasonal winds from the Eurasian continent pick up moisture over the warm currents of the Sea of Japan to form snow clouds and in turn some of the driest, lightest powder in the world. With its rich variety of terrain and beautiful winter woods, Niseko offers an unforgettable experience for all levels of skier/snowboarder.

The Niseko United is composed of four resorts on one pass: Annupuri, Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu, and Hanazono. With over 14 meters of powder per year, fantastic lift-accessed backcountry, a short 20-minute hike from the top lift to the 1308m-high peak, and night skiing until 8:30pm throughout the season; Niseko offers the best ski resort experience worldwide. The international nature of the resort means that even English speakers can travel to Japan without any language barrier worries.

Watch the video below to see what riding powder looks like at Niseko United (Japan):


Mountain Collective Pass details, to purchase



Join us for an epic silky powder ski/ride trip to Hakuba + Niseko, Japan Feb 1 to 12, 2020; details @

http://www.snowpals.org/2019/japow-hukuba-niseko-skiride-trip-feb-2020/

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* Looking to create a ski lease members group to share the cost of a ski house/cabin lease? List your ski lease or advertise your vacation rental. Browse available ski leases to join or planning a Tahoe vacation, browse rentals.

Not for Profit Spotlight: Sierra Avalanche Center for Backcountry Advisories, Education & Safety

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Like to ski and snowboard in the backcountry where there’s abundant natural beauty, no lift lines, untracked powder slopes and wide open bowls?

Perhaps the most important factor in backcountry snow-sports is avalanche safety and knowledge in education of what to do to avoid avalanche prone areas and what to do if you happened to be caught in an avalanche.

Our October spotlight for stellar non-profit work is the Sierra Avalanche Center’s commitment to post daily avalanche forecast advisories to provide important backcountry safety information to keep everyone safe in the greater Lake Tahoe area.

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♥ Sierra Avalanche Center functions as a private-public partnership between the US Forest Service and a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization known as Sierra Avalanche Center (SAC).

The 501(c)(3) not for profit organization known as Sierra Avalanche Center is focused on educational and safety programs to support winter recreation and fundraising to support the financial needs of the program. It consists of a volunteer Board of Directors, a volunteer Advisory Panel to the Board of Directors, and a paid Executive Director to run programs and operations. Through its fundraising efforts this group provides two thirds of the funding necessary to cover budget expenses and operations. Other expenses paid for by the not for profit include the costs of continuing education and some of the cost of the equipment necessary for the forecasters to operate safely in the field. The not for profit also funds sub contracted field observers to collect additional information for avalanche, snowpack, and weather data. Fundraising for these expenses is accomplished through the organization of the SAC Ski Day fundraisers, by securing sponsorships and grants, as well as by gathering private donations and conducting a membership drive for user support. Additionally, the Board of Directors works jointly with the Tahoe National Forest to make decisions regarding the future direction of the avalanche center that are acceptable to both parties.

Mission Statement
Sierra Avalanche Center’s mission is to inform and educate the public about backcountry avalanche conditions in the greater Lake Tahoe area.

=== Join the Annual Backcountry Mixer ===

Meetup with local backcountry skiers + boarders near you to connect for backcountry trips, share expenses, rides & perhaps lodging, expand your circle of backcountry ski, ride buddies/your wingman/woman for safety in the backcountry ..

http://www.snowpals.org/events/

Avalanche Education Providers (Classes/courses in avalanche awareness and safety, Level 1 and 2)

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Locations:

Donner Summit – Truckee – North Lake Tahoe | Mt. Rose Area | South Lake Tahoe – Kirkwood – Gardnerville | Bay Area | Reno | Bear Valley Area

South Lake Tahoe – Kirkwood – Gardnerville

source: https://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org/education/providers

Where can you buy discount Tahoe area resort lift tickets and also support a great nonprofit cause?

During the winter, the Sierra Avalanche Center sells discount lift tickets; funds raised supports their program.

Buy tickets at https://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org

The Truckee Ranger District on the Tahoe National Forest houses and runs the avalanche forecasting operations of the avalanche center. It houses three full-time, seasonal avalanche forecasters and provides infrastructure including office space, computers, internet access, phones, vehicles, fuel, safety equipment, and supervision. The forecasters gather avalanche, snowpack, and weather observations then use this data to create and issue avalanche advisories and avalanche warnings.

Other not for profit organizations we commend for their passion and service to the snow-sports community..

♥ Our featured snow-sports nonprofit for September is SkiDuck, a nonprofit organization, whose mission is full of heart; since 2010, when ski season is in full force, they offer a free program to bring disadvantaged and financially underprivileged youth to the snow and to teach them the joys of skiing and snowboarding.

“SkiDUCK (Skiing and snowboarding for Disabled and Underprivileged Children and older Kids) is a volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled and underprivileged children by bringing them to the snow to share the joys of skiing and snowboarding! Read more about SkiDUCK.

♥ Our August Non-profit Community Service Spotlight is dedicated to High Fives Foundation..

In the last decade, the High Fives Foundation has gained widespread acclaim among snow sports athletes for the foundation’s dedication to raise injury prevention awareness while providing resources and inspiration to those who suffered life-changing injuries. Even more impressive, they’ve managed to become a common thread of connection and hope between a variety of athletes, outdoor sports communities, and charitable initiatives. Read more about the High Fives Foundation

♥ Share SAC backcountry safety advisories with family and friends and plan a Tahoe getaway; share this page via , twitter, facebook.

*New to SnowPals? Join SnowPals to..

+ expand your circle of ski and ride buddies for resort skiing/riding or if you opt for the backcountry, connect with a buddy to ski/ride with as your wingman/woman for safety.
+ expand your Tahoe rideshare contacts for trips to Tahoe and beyond especially those with multi-resort pass that gives you access to resorts worldwide (share trip expenses and perhaps make a few friends who are members of a ski lease and get invited to stay at the ski lodge as a guest)

Read about some of our newly joined members and consider joining us and share our love for snow sports.

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Survival Guide & Tips: Skiing with Kids

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By Joe Woo, Snowpals’ Resident Ski Gear Tester & Columnist. 

Skiing with kids. It seems like a simple thing. But let me tell you. If you haven’t done it before and aren’t prepared for it, it can ruin a great time on the slopes. However, with the right preparation, it can be more fun skiing with them than skiing without them. For those of you toying with the idea of finally bringing the kids up or maybe you’re considering bringing up a nephew or niece…read this. What I’ll do first is share some of my kid skiing experience and what we do to make it lots of fun.

For me, skiing pre-kids was easy. I never thought about anyone else. I never considered having to ski with anyone. If anyone I was skiing with slowed me down or was having a bad time, I could separate from them and meet up with them later. That was no big deal. When you add kids to the mix, things really change. The main thing is that you can’t just dump the kids and continue skiing when they’re cramping your style. When you’re on the mountain with your kids, you’re stuck with them for better or for worse. What is a parent to do?

Over the last two seasons I’ve come up with a pretty good system for skiing with kids. My wife and I came up with it using trial and error to finally dial in something that works for our family. It was a lot of effort using trial and error and lots of frustration but it was worth it. Why go through all the effort? Why not just dump the kids in ski school for the day so that I could ski without them?

Cost is an obvious issue, but more importantly skiing with my kids is fun. It is more fun than skiing without them because when they’re having fun, there is nothing better than skiing together, laughing together and watching them learn, grow and overcome all the little challenges of skiing. The look on their face when they accomplish something they didn’t think they could is priceless and worth more than anything in the world. When it is good, skiing with them is better than any skiing I could do on my own.

So, what’s the issue? Those fun times were rare and didn’t happen often. When they did happen, they were priceless, however it seemed like the bad times outweighed the good times. Finding a way to make those fun times happen more was something I had to do.

So, how do you do that? What I discovered through two years of trial and error is CCSF. What does this mean? Confidence, Comfort, and Sated (not hungry) equals Fun. If you can get the Confidence, Comfort and Sate (not hungry) issues right that will equal Fun for your family. Lets look closer at each element.

Confidence

Confidence is a very important thing for anyone. It is especially important for kids to have when skiing. I’ll go so far as to say that confidence is so important that I believe it is the foundation to successful family skiing. Without confidence, the kids will never want to ski, will dread skiing and will make your time on the mountain miserable. You should do everything in your power to build your kids confidence in skiing.

How do you do that? For us we decided to always try and put our kids in skiing situations that we knew they could be successful. We never made them do anything we knew they would fail at. They quickly built confidence the second day they ever skied. The thing that built confidence the most was succeeding in tasks when they were scared of doing something even though I knew they could do it. These were the cases where I pushed them hard because I knew they could do it, but they needed to realize they could do it and when they did it you could see the confidence grow.

For example, my 5 year old son refused to ski without being between my legs and me holding him down the bunny slope. I knew he would crash at first if he tried skiing by himself as this was his first time on skis. After about 5 runs between my legs I started to stop actively holding him and he would ski holding me. Then after a few runs of doing that we would stop halfway down the hill, put his skis in pizza and let him go so that he was standing still on the hill in pizza. Then I would go about 10 feet in front of him and tell him to slide to me. At first it was a struggle because he didn’t want me to let go of him. He would cry when I would let go. I just wanted him to slide to me in pizza. He didn’t have to stop. I would catch him. But he was scared to do it, but I knew he could do it and he finally did through the cries and tears. Once he realized he had actually done it, he did it again.

At first it was 10 feet, then 20 feet and I would stop him. If he veered off course I would slide over to catch him. Then I told him to stop by himself and he just did it. He was amazed that he could stop by himself and the rest is history. He skied the rest of the day by himself without ever turning. Just pizza strait down the hill with his arms held in front of him like he was ready to do some serious karate chops. His way to balance I guess. The next day he was turning back and fourth and excited about skiing.

My daughter was the same progression at the same time. Soon they got bored of the slope and asked to do another lift. We moved onto another beginner lift with slightly steeper terrain and a longer run. That was last year at Diamond Peak. They gained so much confidence at Diamond Peak, Mt. Rose and Squaw Valley. I continued to teach them parallel skiing and my daughter is no longer in pizza. My son is in an advanced pizza today, but is almost ready for parallel skiing.

Today my younger son is six and my daughter is eight and both are happily skiing black diamonds off Red Dog, KT-22, Headwall and other lifts at Squaw Valley. My older son is actually skiing (as opposed to just surviving down) West Face, Tower 16 and the various terrains off Silverado chair! It is amazing what a little confidence can do. My kids are testament to that without ever having professional ski lessons. Whatever you do, make sure the kids gain lots of confidence. I truly believe it is the foundation to successful family skiing.

Comfort

Now your kids are confident skiers. Is that it? Not really. No matter how confident they are, if they are not comfortable, they will complain and ruin your day. Kids are not mature enough to overcome the little issues so they don’t ruin the big things like a fun day of skiing. Our kids are pretty tough and the last thing we do is baby them, but every kid has a limit to what comfort they’re willing to give up on to have fun on the slopes.

It is important that you take the time to learn what your kids comfort limits are and make sure those needs are satisfied. My kids don’t complain that much about their comfort. I think it is because I’ve invested in making sure they stay warm and dry no matter the conditions. They have top of the line ski pants, jackets, gloves, base and mid layers. They have great helmets and goggles. Goggles were an issue and I finally got them decent stuff that doesn’t fog and they can clean easily. Another important piece of equipment was the neck gator. It seals out the cold air getting in from the neck. The kids rarely complain about being cold or wet and it is one less issue we have to worry about.

Sate

Kids don’t do well when they’re hungry. Instead you sould make it a priority to make sure they’re sated and not hungry. This one is really simple. Kids start getting moody and melting down when they get hungry. It is amazing. They are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Feed your kids periodically and your chances are better at having a great day. We discovered that if we have a big breakfast, lunch around 12:30 or 1, 2:30 heavy snack and small snacks on the lifts in between, we avoid the hunger meltdown altogether. Now I always have a large Hershey bar in my pocket and on every other lift ride, I’ll give each kid one piece to eat. This system has worked great this season.

Skiing with your kids can be fun and very rewarding. Just remember that kids have unique needs that you have to consider. The best way I know is to remember CCSF. Confidence, Comfort and Sated equals Fun. Try is next time you’re out with the kids. Good luck!

=====

More skiing with kids tips for parents..

From Jeremy Feinberg, a Ski Instructor at Kirkwood for 6 years plus, a certified PSIA Level 2 instructor, training for Level 3; he teaches skill levels that range from first timers to expert; he coaches a Progression team that skis 99% of the legal terrain at Kirkwood.

As someone who makes their living teaching children how to ski I can say that there are some good things in this survival guide; a comfortable and well fed child is one who is set up for success, and depending on the child, confidence can be a limiting factor, however in the 1+ page of text there was very little emphasis on skill development and no mention at all of the physical and cognitive limitations that change as a child grows.

That being said, a few things to keep in mind include: 

It’s hard to learn new skills when people are on terrain that is at the edge of their comfort level, dial it back, gain ownership over the movements and then take it to the steeper snow.

Confidence can be a good thing, but you can have too much of a good thing… your child needs to ski in control and not be a menace or hazard.

Leash and harness systems enable parents to get younger kids on the snow but can reinforce bad habits, however the harnesses themselves can be useful for picking up kids from the snow and helping them on to the lift.

The Edgy Wedgie can be a useful teaching tool, try it for a run or two, take if off and see if the child can stop without it… use it for a few runs, not a few days or seasons.  

If its your child’s first time skiing, start on a small hill below the lift, 30-50 feet long and almost flat with a flat runout at the bottom, or a gradual uphill if you can find it, learn to stop there, then head to the chair.

Some children perform at a higher level with their parents around, some excel within their peer group under the tutelage of an experienced coach, it helps to know which group your child falls into

The pace of skill development as detailed in the Survival Guide sounds about right, just keep in mind that today I had a 6 year old girl first time skier (along with a five year old girl with separation anxiety issues whose mother checked her out after lunch) who was able to stop within the first hour, we were on the chairlift before lunch and making turns.  By the time her parents picked her up (1/2 hour early) she had taken several runs through the trees. Tomorrow after a brief warm up she will be ready for the lower intermediate lift.  Her older brother who was on a snowboard was unwilling to follow us through the woods.    Her parents were impressed by her success and gave me a generous tip.

If you want to get your child out of the wedge and making turns that have a least some parallel at the end of each turn, and you want that to happen quickly, ski school is the place for your child, especially on the weekdays when group sizes are small and only experienced and highly certified instructors are getting any work.  

Please don’t be that person who has their child skiing advanced terrain in a power wedge, if you are going to ski with your child and teach them how to ski, make the day about them, you need to be there to support them and help them along the way.  

Recognize the limitations of your own teaching abilities and don’t let your child (or yourself) get stuck in the skill rut; if you have any questions about how this can manifest one can use the intermediate rut as an example: go to most ski resorts and watch the way people on the intermediate runs ski, particularly how they initiate their turns.  What you will see in most cases are varying degrees of stem (wedge or pizza) to start the turn.  People make this movement because they are not comfortable performing a movement that ski instructors call crossover.

Crossover is the movement that separates advanced skiers from people that ski advanced terrain, it is defined my crossing your center of mass over your skis, down the hill into the new turn (basically throwing one’s body down the hill, swooping your skis underneath the body to catch the center of mass)  

Crossover one example of a movement that can define a skill rut, it’s difficult to teach and limits a person’s ability to explore and enjoy the mountain.

**On a related note** Teaching the spouse or significant other how to ski is tough, I call it the relationship tester, put that person in a group or private lesson, meet up for lunch and ski together in the afternoon, at their pace, where the instructor said would be a good place to ski.  Your romantic relationship is one of equals, the student/teacher relationship is not, things can get ugly quick.

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